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Never thought we’d see this again — Teemu Selanne in Winnipeg

Dec 14, 2011, 12:18 PM EDT

Teemu Selanne

When the Winnipeg Jets left for Phoenix all those years back, hockey fans couldn’t imagine a night like Saturday night.

Indeed, when Winnipeg and Anaheim face each other at the MTS Centre, it will be like a parlay of long shots hitting. First, the Jets had to be reborn in Manitoba. Second, Selanne had to play hockey until he was 41.

“When the season became public, then we needed a schedule, I marked the date in my calendar — even [though] I didn’t know if I can play still this year,” Selanne said yesterday in a conference call. “So obviously, I knew it’s going to be very special to have a chance to come back there and play.”

Selanne was drafted 10th overall by the Jets in 1988. Meanwhile, Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Die Hard was about to be released, and Sweet Child o’ Mine was on the verge of becoming a hit single for Guns N’ Roses.

How long ago was 1988 in hockey terms?

—-Wayne Gretzky had yet to suit up for the Los Angeles Kings.

—-Joe Nieuwendyk was the rookie of the year.

—-There were still playing games – and would be for a more few years – in Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium, the Montreal Forum and Maple Leaf Gardens.

Selanne only spent four seasons in Winnipeg, his most memorable coming as a rookie in 1992-93 when he scored a record 76 goals.

In 1996, with the wheels of the Jets’ departure for Arizona already in motion, he was traded to Anaheim.

“When I got traded, I didn’t really have a chance to say goodbye to the people and the city,” he said. “So that’s why I’m really looking forward to going back there, and obviously I know there’s still a lot of fans.”

  1. haterzgonahate - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Teemu Selanne is just awesome.. one of the best people in the league

  2. lsxphotog - Dec 14, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Teemu was and still is a terrific guy and player. He will always be known for his consistency and intelligence in the game. His rookie goal scoring title will NEVER be touched either.

    • cmutimmah - Dec 14, 2011 at 1:29 PM

      Well, I wouldn’t say “Never”, but it’s hightly unlikely.

      This was back in the day that speed killed. Bure, Bondra, Federov… guys that were fast were putting up monster numbers. Problem is rookies don’t get the ice time that Selanne got that season. Hell, defenseman barely get that much time on the ice. He was playing a monster amount of minutes/game that season.

      Guys with that speed don’t have room in front of the net anymore. The new defensive systems in hockey force those fast guys to the outside… also, defenseman play more defense now than back in the day.

      Also, everyteam would have a speed defenseman back then that would occasionally get caught deep (I’m looking at you Phil Hausley). Creating more fast paced end to end play. There weren’t sophisticated neutral zone traps and puck control teams like we have now either.

      I have a feeling, with the dawn of the crap trap, no forecheck styles of teams now-a-days, we’re going to see an “illegal defense” penalty brought into the NHL at some point. It would be terrible, but if this is done it will re-open up center ice.

      My proposal for opening up center ice without changing the rules, establishing the zone over the blue line would open up the entire half of the ice for the offence. By that I mean as long as the puck enters the zone before other players or the player controlling the puck, the puck can come back over the blue line and everyone would still be on sides. The red line would become the new (out of the zone) line. (I know a lot of people won’t like this, but it would fix the trap systems because people would establish the line and then could pull back and send the puck to a streaking winger, like a sling shot drop pass…)

  3. cmutimmah - Dec 14, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Tverdovsky… whatever happened to that guy? He was good when he came into the league and went back to the Ducks… then he was an average guy for one season in Jersey and I forgot about him…

    So I looked it up… poor guy declined fast after the lockout.

    Chad Kilger never really panned out to much of a scorer. I’d say Anaheim won on that deal, just a bit.

  4. sippindasyzurp - Dec 14, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    Just an FYI the Jets don’t play Anaheim till Saturday.

    • Jason Brough - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      Thanks. I think I have a concussion.

      • danphipps01 - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:57 AM

        They’ve been going around these days. :/

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